New York Rangers: Anthony DeAngelo provides high risk/high reward

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Rangers traded their number one center for the 7th overall pick in the draft and a prospect. That prospect is defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, a kid with tremendous offensive upside but also a lot of question marks.

After months of trade talks, New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton opted to trade his top-line center Derek Stepan and his backup goalie Antti Raanta to the desert. In return, the Coyotes sent the Rangers the 7th overall pick in the draft (Lias Andersson) and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

DeAngelo is a 21-year-old from Sewell, New Jersey. He is a right-handed defenseman with tremendous offensive upside–something the Rangers haven’t had on their roster in a very, very long time.

This is what Hockey’s Future has to say about the former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning:

"DeAngelo is a high skill skating defenseman who plays with an edge to his game. His discipline and defensive positional play have been causes for concern at times but he should become more consistent as he gains maturity and experience."

Here’s The Hockey News:

"Is a tremendous asset on offense from the back end. Can put a lot of pressure on the opposition due to supreme offensive instincts. Skates very smoothly and can be a valuable point man and QB on the power play."

DeAngelo has produced offensively at every level. Prior to his time in the NHL, DeAngelo combined for nine goals and 50 assists in 94 games in the AHL split between the Syracuse Crunch (TBL) and Tucson Roadrunners (ARI).

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On a really bad Coyotes team, DeAngelo tallied five goals and nine assists in 39 games. Eight of those points were on the power play. He also managed a 45.7 CF% at even strength, good for 7th on the Coyotes. The offensive upside is there for DeAngelo to make an impact, although there are a few red flags to be concerned about.

The Red Flags

DeAngelo, by many accounts, is a work-in-progress. While he has the tremendous offensive upside that I mentioned above, there is some worry about if he can fix up his defensive game.

This is from The Hockey News:

"Has defensive deficiencies that need to be corrected if he is to avoid the label of ‘power-play specialist’ at the highest level. Is somewhat undersized as well, so he needs to add strength to better handle bigger forwards."

I wouldn’t be too worried about the adding strength part. That will come with time as his body matures. The defensive deficiencies are the part of the equation that worries me the most.

For trading Stepan to make any sense, the Rangers had to get a top pair caliber defenseman or an up-and-coming centerman. The knock on DeAngelo is that he isn’t capable of being a top pair defenseman due to his defensive shortcomings. That scares me a little bit.

Also, DeAngelo has lots of questions about his character out there. He was suspended last season for “abuse of an official,” and had issues with suspensions coming up the pipeline, too.

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Jeff Gorton and his staff did lots of research on this kid, a lot more than any of us have. The trade can’t be judged right now. In fact, I don’t think we will be able to judge this trade for at least three or four years. Hopefully, the good outweighs the bad here and DeAngelo can be a key piece of the “rebuilding on the fly” Rangers now and in the future.